By Jade Johnston
E Book Review – Two Wheels And Rice Fields
Although travel with packaged tours can be nice (and much simpler!), there is always something about true independent travel which resonates with me. Something about throwing yourself into the country and landscape, with nothing mediating between you and the experience is inspiring.
When Positive world travel asked me if I would like to review their new ebook – Two Wheels and Rice fields – about long term motorbike touring in Vietnam, I jumped at the opportunity.
I am even prepared to make a strong statement – touring by motorbike is the best way for indie travelers to experience Vietnam. I mean, it is the same way that the majority of the local people experience Vietnam.
I believe that one way to really connect with a country, is to try to experience it in the same way as the local inhabitants do. In New Zealand you should travel by campervan, in London by tube, in Mongolia by horse (my life dream!), and in Vietnam – by motorbike.
But where to start?
Should I purchase my own motorbike, or rent? If I decide to purchase, then which sort of bike should I buy? And how do I tell if my potential new bike will hold up for the whole journey?
For someone like me, with no previous motorbike experience and no mechanical knowledge, these first questions are daunting enough to turn me off the whole idea of touring Vietnam by motorbike.
Why is this e book valuable?
I was astounded by the breadth and depth of information presented in the e book. Also, despite a lot of the information being quite new to me, I found it very easy to read and absorb the new information.
The e book is divided into several sections, making it easy to find the information you are looking for. And believe me, the information you are looking for is included in the book.
They begin with some general information about Vietnam; climate, food, etiquette and lifestyle. They move on to the things you need to think of before you go – visa types, border crossings, and legalities. (It is actually illegal for a foreigner to own a motorbike in Vietnam, but this doesn’t stop most people.
Anthony and Elise are very straightforward about this fact, and leave it up to the reader to decide if they would rather purchase a bike, or rent one instead.)
The bulk of the book contains just the sort of information that you need to most, but will have the hardest time finding from other media sources. How to select the best bike for your purposes? What sort of gear and accessories will you most likely need? And most importantly, what to do to maintain and repair the bike during your journey?
I really appreciated the detail that they go into in these sections, but also the ease and simplicity in which the information is presented. Consider me, a girl who doesn’t possess a drivers license and hasn’t even driven a vehicle in more than nine years, who is completely hopeless with anything mechanical – after reading these sections I feel fairly confident in what sort of bike would suit me best, and which sorts of skills I would need to acquire before setting out on an adventure like this.
Now that I’m an expert on Motorbike maintenance, what’s next?
The last sections were the most fun for me to read, as a travel enthusiast. Of course it is their recommendations of place to visit on your trip! This section is broken into several smaller sections; northern touring, beach touring, central/ highlands touring, southern touring, and unforgettable rides. Armed with this information, and a good map, you should be able to figure out a rough itinerary for yourself.
When I was in Vietnam, due to time restrictions, I was never able to make it up to the northern areas of Vietnam. Reading their section on northern touring has given me a bit of the travel itch to head back to Vietnam and see what I can discover in the area north of Hanoi.
The final section is all about tips and tricks to sell on your motorbike once you finish your trip. Although this will probably be the least fun part of the experience, it is an important once, since you want to get back some of the hard earned money that was invested in the bike!
Anthony and Elise really went the extra mile with the resource section of the ebook. This section includes a language guide which will help you communicate during your travels through Vietnam. It also includes a gear checklist, a sample proof of purchase, and loads upon loads of useful hotel/ touring/ and motorbike rental vouchers.
Are you ready to start planning your Vietnam motorbike tour?
Well if so, and if you are feeling a little overwhelmed about it all, I would definitely recommend checking out this e book. Up to date, first hand experiences from other travelers is always much more valuable information then what you can usually obtain from a guide book or company website. And hey, if you have any further questions, they also provide their email, facebook, and twitter information. No guide book offers anything like that!
If you are interested in purchasing this ebook, all you need to do is click this link.